Thursday, September 24, 2015

Gray Zone: YA Novel with Important Themes

Gray Zone by Veronica R. Tabares is an excellent addition to any YA book collection.  This novel is a compelling, well-written story about high school students.It also incorporates important concerns of modern teens: bullying via social media.

Autumn, the main character, has a supportive family that helps her survive bullying so severe she had to change schools.  Some of her classmates at her new school were not so fortunate--or they never gave their parents a chance to help them.  This story has victims and survivors, as well as  one who decides to be a champion/defender.

Many teens will identify with one or more characters in Gray Zone.  Parents or teachers can use a discussion of this book to teach teens how to ask for help when needed.  I would recommend parents read this book along with their teens, since suicide is one element of the story. My family has often read together, a practice that continues as I discuss books with my grown children and we recommend books to one another!

I received a free review copy of this book and offer my endorsement as a librarian and as a mother of six.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Are You a Prankster? Try Glitter Bombs

While I'm not a prankster myself (not often, at least) I can recognize an interesting idea when I see one. GlitterBombd specializes in sparkly pranks for special people in your life.  Choose from a variety of designs, all combined with glitter and mailed to your favorite (or least favorite) person.  Political, celebrity, and cartoon designs are some of your choices.

Use Coupon Code 2125AA20 to save 50% on your order for a limited time.

 A portion of  GlitterBombd proceeds go to Wounded Warrior Project.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Math Comic Books? Yes!

Image from

So often parents and teachers try to make up ways to make math meaningful and fail.  This is too bad, because we live in a world full of math and that world is exciting and interesting to explore!  Yamie Chess' math comics are a place where math concepts meet the time-tested, ever popular game of chess.  Kids love games, games involve math concepts--everyone wins.

School Library Journal and a host of math education professionals endorse Yamie Chess' math comics.  The cartoon adventures merge reading with algebra, geometry, and other number skills for elementary grades through middle school.  Develop thinking skills and show students that reading and math can go together.

Fight Common Core confusion with real math from STEM professionals.  Fight boredom with engaging adventure stories.  Introduce children to chess as well--a worthy pursuit that may be enjoyed for a lifetime.

Everyone wins with Yamie Chess comics.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A New Twist on Pride and Prejudice

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Denise O-Hara, author of a series of novellas depicting Life after the Wedding for Jane Austen fans, has done it again.  Disdain and Deception weaves a mysterious and delightful alternative story beginning with the engagement of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.  What if Mr. Darcy were in an accident?

True to the style Jane Austen used, the characters remain true to themselves despite the plot twist.  I will give no spoilers, but will say I found the ending quite satisfactory!

I received a free review copy of the novel for my honest opinion and highly recommend it for both Austen fans and those who have yet to meet the delightful Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Book Giveaway: The Bridge Builder

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If you have ever heard of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, you have Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein to thank.  Zev Chaffets presents The Bridge Builder, an authorized biography of a man who joined Christians and Jews to support Israel--a nation uniquely blessed by God to be a blessing to all nations.

Photographs are included in this excellent account of a life lived to repair relations between two groups that have at times in history persecuted one another and to unite them as a witness to those who would persecute both groups.  People of any faith or no faith could learn from the example of a rabbi who simply followed where God was leading him.

Simply leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win your own copy of The Bridge Builder.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Use Social Media Productively

Yes, you could spend hours on Facebook looking at pictures of cute kittens.  Alternatively, you could harness the power of social media to build your brand and get your business in front of people who share a need for or interest in your product.  If you want to do the latter, I recommend Jason McDonald as a teacher.

I was recently sent a draft chapter from a book Dr. McDonald is writing (Social Media Marketing Workbook) and learned things I didn't know about Facebook.  I was an early adult adopter of Facebook, trying to stay in touch with college kids, but still have a lot to learn about searching and about the algorithms used to rank Facebook pages and posts.  McDonald is able to teach me.

Learn to create a profile and then a page for your business or organization.  Then learn to strategically post after first looking round to see how your market interacts on social media.  One key is to be social--not just "buy my stuff" but building relationships through sharing interesting quotes, pictures, and stories.  Relationships are key to long-lasting business success.

Contact Jason McDonald and get on his mailing list for more information about training in SEO and social media use.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Caleb: Mighty Man of Faith and Action

I have always appreciated the stories of Joshua and Caleb--the 2 spies who wanted to obey God and take the promised land after 10 other spies said it was too hard.  After the 40 years in the wilderness, only Joshua and Caleb were left of those original 12 spies.  And old man Caleb was ready to conquer!

Cliff Graham uses his experiences as a soldier, writer, and theologian to weave a fictional account that honors historical and Biblical accuracy.  If you enjoyed his Lion of War series, you will enjoy Shadow of the Mountain.

I received a free review copy from Bethany House for my honest opinion of the novel.